It’s amazing to consider all the gods mankind has worshipped over the millennia, the tens of thousands still available for worship around the world today, and along with those, the plethora of philosophies and ideologies. In most cases they reflect the standards, desires and preferences of the people who follow them: people create gods and thought systems to fit their aspirations and their appetites…
(Sermon On The Mount, by Carl Heinrich Bloch)
In my post “Can A Teapot be God too?” I wrote that some people view spirituality as a perpetual shopping spree, in which they pick pieces of various belief systems which suit them:
“I liken this kind of reasoning to wandering around a large store, and saying “Hmm…let’s see now… I’ll have a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Oh I quite like this, but that looks disgusting. Hey- that’s a fantastic teapot…!” (note 1)
Among such people the God of the Bible is largely unattractive. I can have some respect for a person who’s at least made an attempt to understand and to seek him, albeit a half-hearted and short-lived attempt. But what about people who don’t, assuming they’ve heard anything about him? Perhaps they haven’t heard anything but lies, such as the idea that he’s only here to spoil our fun, or perhaps they’ve been turned off by poor representatives.
There’s another option: they just don’t like him. Jesus said that he would draw all men to himself (John 12:32). If this is true, why should some respond and others not bother? Why do some people spend their lives seeking God, gaining strong faith and deep spiritual roots, while others never really seek at all? There’s a wealth of information to be found to support the Bible; a treasure trove of illumination, a lifetime of knowledge, a long history of generations who willingly chose to die for their faith rather than deny it and who left behind a legacy of hope, faith and encouragement. There’s a world and a universe of incredible and intricate beauty as undeniable evidence for a Creator: why are some people not the slightest bit interested?
The answer is quite simple: we attain the level of faith and of understanding that we seek. If we don’t seek we won’t find. Some people just don’t want to know the God I’m speaking of. They don’t want to know about him, they don’t want to listen to anyone who claims to know him, and they don’t want others to know him. They don’t like what he stands for, they don’t like the things he said and they don’t like the thought of living the way he wants them to live. They think there’s nothing of value in the God who claims to freely give eternal life, and they would rather go and watch TV.
Jesus, always profound and fully committed in his assertions, expressed this concept to the max. Speaking of himself as the savior and the light of the world for all those who respond, he identified what it is that prevents people seeking:
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil…whoever lives by the truth comes into the light” (John 3:16-21).
People who don’t like God would be most unhappy in his heaven, and he has no plan to force them to be there.
It really has little to do with supposed “evidence” to the contrary. The first director of the Human Genome Project, Jim Watson, was an outspoken atheist. The second director, Francis Collins, was a Christian theist. Collins, MD, PhD, wrote:
“I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views” (note 2).
It’s all about how you see the world, and how you want to see the world.
People who come to the God of the Bible do so because they like (and love) what he says, what he does, what he likes, and what he plans to do.
Of course we believers know that God reveals truth: it’s no great achievement of our own. But there’s a fundamental level at which any seeker can invite this revelation if he so chooses:
“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
More hated than “Hitler”! More repulsive than “the Ripper”! More nefarious than “Nero”…!
The other day an associate of mine expressed his hatred for a large bill-board advertising a local church. Its message was “hope”, and its object was Jesus Christ. “That’s the kind of thing that really makes me mad” he said. “Such things shouldn’t be visible, they should be illegal”.
Isn’t it strange that for the atheist-the man who alone can think “logically”, “scientifically” and “reasonably”, the one scary thing in the universe is not the fact that his nation is in debt to the tune of eighteen trillion dollars, not the fact that Islamists have made inroads all the way to the top of his nation’s political scene, not the knowledge that since the 1960s fifty-nine million babies have been legally aborted in the US alone, and not the belief in death with nothing beyond: it’s the mention of the name “Jesus”, and of his followers, “Christians”.
Even the term “Christmas” is avoided like the plague.
Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of human history is that the day is coming when everyone-including the atheist-will have to acknowledge the name of Jesus, whether they like it or not:
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
I stumbled upon a video of Richard Dawkins telling a man that he had “no right” to ask why we are here. Challenged with the claim that science cannot answer that question, his only recourse was to play Big Brother and trash the question*
Many people deny the existence of God-perhaps we’ve all been there at some time. But to attempt to deny others the freedom to seek for that God is something altogether more serious:
“And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42 KJV)
Rabid God haters, militant atheists with an axe to grind, are working hard to convince as many people as possible that it’s foolish to even consider the existence of God.
Surely, to “know” that there is no God a man has to know everything about the universe. And the man who knows all things is making himself equal with the God he has said cannot exist. He not only ignores anything he can’t see but also the clear testimony of what he can see, so that in his mind nothing plus time (and where did time come from?) produced DNA.
The atheist proselytizer is acting like a god: a man who knows all things; a man who can save the world from all its problems if only we will first forget about “religion”; a man who wants to dictate to others what to think and what to believe; a man who wants to steal and shrink the minds of children like some mean spirited pied-piper.
Considering the fact that eternity is so mind-bogglingly long, and a human life so painfully short, it seems to me that taking some time to wonder why and how we are here is one of the wisest things we can do: what do we have to lose? I know I’ve lost nothing, but only gained by considering the question. Asking the God-hater why we are here is pretty silly, but letting some know-it-all keep us from that consideration is the real foolishness:
“The fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1)
All of us who are people of faith have times of testing, do we not? It’s for such times that we need a spiritual “defense strategy” ready. Also we’re called upon to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Faith does not and should not have to be without reason, as some people believe.
(Nils Frahm, “Ode”)
For me there are three initial steps in a good defense strategy: step one is prayer, and step two is Scripture-by that I mean the Bible.
This post outlines my personal “step 3”. Step 3 involves mental and spiritual reference to the reasons I had for my faith in the first place, compiled and memorized while the going is good. I’ve fallen back on step three several times already in my life, and found it to be a valuable tool. However, please see my disclaimer at the end of the post *
Step 3 is a collection of acronyms, (or they may be “initialisms”, depending on your point of view), the letters each representing a key word which prompts me to recall a “reason” for the hope that is in me. The acronyms are pretty meaningless on their own, but they serve a purpose. They’re evolving perpetually. To date I have four:
1: DIO APO HAELJASE-E
2: MASHT PROCH
3: JELL MUSH
Is that perfectly clear? Good, now I’ll give you a summary-a first layer of explanation -for each one.
DIO APO HAELJASE-E
The first acronym supports my belief in the existence of a creator, or if you like, intelligent design. It also indirectly supports my faith in the God of the Bible, since it reflects the nature and character of that God.
D is for DESIGN. I see incredible design in all of nature. Out of the thousands of examples which could be given, one of my favorites is of a moth I saw late one night near where I live (not the one in the picture). On the ground with its wings spread out in bright light it had a five-inch wingspan (12.5 cm), and on the back of each wing, no doubt to warn predators, it had a large eye-like pattern, so that you seem to be looking at a formidable, intimidating five-inch wide face. How would the moth “evolve” itself those “eyes”, and why would it, if it could survive long enough (millions of years) while it was evolving them?
I is for INFORMATION. A strand of DNA, contained in each of the trillions of cells in our body, is packed with more information than a library. Information has never been observed to come from chaos. Researchers scan the skies for a radio signal which would confirm intelligent life in outer space, yet ignore the incredible message in plain view within life on earth;
O is for ORDER. The universe operates in a very orderly, lawful way, as does our own solar system and our own planet. The laws of nature hold all things together and allow us to exist and function.
A-P is for the “ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE”, dismissed as mere coincidence by the evolutionist. Earth is uniquely placed and equipped for life in our galaxy and in our solar system, and benefits from many hundreds of extremely fortuitous conditions. As an example, if earth were tilted any more or less in relation to the sun, its temperature ranges would be too extreme to support life. If we didn’t have the moon at just the right distance from us and at just the right relative size with just the right orbital pattern, we would have no tides to keep the oceans alive and fresh, and there would be no life on earth. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the harmful power of the sun’s radiation.
O is for ORIGINS. Even famous evolutionists admit that they don’t know for sure how life evolved from non-life, and they’ve never seen it happen. When the first living cell miraculously produced itself, who did it mate with and what did it eat? I can much more easily believe in an intelligent creator than in a rock producing all the complexity we see.
H is for man’s HUNGER for God. Man has an inbuilt hunger for the spiritual (Pascal’s “God-shaped vacuum”) which explains the existence of many religions throughout history and in every culture. Religion is not always a product of superstition: perhaps superstition is born of a longing for God, and the realization that there is something much greater than us.
A is for ATHEISM. The condition of atheistic cultures to date has not been impressive or endearing. Atheistic philosophy has been the cause of far more evil in our world than any religion has (refer to the regimes of such men as Stalin and Pol Pot). This is not to say that every atheist is a “bad” person: they are not. Instead it demonstrates that being God-less is not the answer to our problems.
Also consider the implications of atheistic philosophy. If there is no God or creator who sets the rules and standards, neither is there any fixed universal, objective standard of right or wrong. Hitler, then, was no more “wrong” than the West was-we just happened to disagree with him. What one person or culture decides is good another may decide is evil, and who has the right to deem it otherwise?
Since life, according to evolution, evolves by means of mutation and natural selection-the survival of the fittest-death, war, murder and the consumption of our competitors cannot be “wrong”. Our governments are oppressing us by deciding everything for us and by locking us into their system of thought, laws and regulations, and so government and the opinion of men has become our Master. Who’s satisfied with the results of that?
In God’s economy, each human life has great value. In the strictest and most logical view of the evolutionary worldview, I have no more value than a worm.
E is for EMOTION. Most of our emotions are superfluous and even detrimental to us if we are only here to contend with other life forms and emerge the winner (as we have). The God of the Bible made us in his image, and is himself a feeling, emotional being.
L is for LOVE. Real love produces commitment, caring, empathy, loyalty, faithfulness and truthfulness. Where does love come from if not from a loving, faithful designer? How could chemical reaction and interaction alone-born of rock-produce love? When your significant other asks if you love her or him, do you reply that yes, you are currently experiencing some chemical and hormonal interactions, and as long as they occur you will stick around and refrain from killing and eating him or her? Love in the popular definition of today is a reductionist ploy with the aim of reducing our relationships to one of temporary mutual use while the going is good. Godly love is that which produces stable relationships, homes and societies.
J is for JUSTICE. Our sense of justice is evidence that we were made by a just, moral God. If we have ‘evolved’ a sense of justice, why do we still have crime, war and murder, at every level of every society? And why would or should we care anyway?
Again, if we evolved there is no such thing as absolute right or wrong, but only what we decide is right or wrong. It means that we cannot claim to have had the moral high ground over Hitler- we just managed to bully him and impose our view of right and wrong over his: it was a battle only for the ‘survival of the fittest’. This means that if a tyrant comes along in the future who defeats the forces of what we call “freedom”, he has every right to wipe us out and to rule over us. However, we recognize naturally in our hearts that there is such a thing as evil at large in our world, and that it needs to be checked. This recognition was given to us by a God of justice.
A is for “AESTHETIC SENSE”. We have an inbuilt appreciation for beauty of many kinds, and for all of creation, and not merely for our mate when we are busy reproducing, or for the food on our plate. We desire to be creative, to entertain, and to express ourselves, and we appreciate those who do so skillfully. We create and imagine often without any practical reason. We philosophize and think very deeply (well some of us do anyway).
S and E are for SIN and EVIL. The Bible is right about human nature- just look around. Those who claim that people only abuse each other when they are impoverished are often the same people who berate the ultra-rich for abusing the rest of us. And if we evolved, why shouldn’t they, since life is all about “survival of the fittest”? Those who claim that religion causes all unrest and abuse forget all about Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Dung, and other avowed atheists who murdered millions of their own people less than a century ago essentially for the crime of being the surviving “fittest”.
E is for EXPERIENCE. In the years I’ve been a Christian I’ve experienced God in many ways. This includes an acute awareness of His presence, and a feeling of indescribable completeness, inner peace and joy. It’s important for me to remember those experiences and continuous states of mind, and not to let them be dismissed as mere superstition, hormonal balance or positive thinking. I’ve experienced answered prayers, and I’ve seen the difference made by the Spirit of God in someone’s life, in a home, and in a society which has now turned its back on God to its own harm.
My disclaimer is the acknowledgement that in those awful situations some people face-perhaps all of us at some time in our lives- reason and information are inadequate or even counter-productive. Sometimes all we can tolerate is some loving, prayerful company, and our own personal brokenness. Many times our brokenness is what our God is looking for.
The rest of my defense strategy part three will follow soon. Thanks for reading, and God bless you with truth and a sound mind.
Here’s a thought: if you believe in evolution and you’re a carnivore, you’re eating your cousins. Come to think about it, even if you’re vegan you’re eating your cousins, and so is everything else. We could call Earth one big “family diner”.
(ABOUT BLANK “Humanoid”)
There are now over seven billion people on the face of the earth. Although there are face “types”, and some people seem to have doubles, every face is unique!
WHO PUSHES THE PEDALS ON THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE?
“You belong to your father, the devil…He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).
WHO IS THE ANTICHRIST?
“It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).
MY FAVORITE MOVIE
Well, not really my very favorite, but one of my favorites is “Dr. Strangelove”, which I gave myself the pleasure of watching again a couple of days ago. I think it may be Peter Seller’s best movie. My favorite line is when Sellers, as President Merkin Muffley, upbraids US General Turgidson and Soviet ambassador Alexei de Sadeski, saying,:
“You can’t fight here-this is the war room!”
DEAD FAITH HEALERS
When a faith-healer gets sick why doesn’t he heal himself? Why do faith healers die? (That’s a rhetorical question).
SILENCE OF THE
It’s amazing to me that although I express strong opinions on some things, nobody challenges me. This is worrying, because we should all have strong opinions and not be afraid to politely but firmly defend them. This phenomenon has to be somehow related to the fact that the government, politicians and judges get away with so much while “we the people” sit in front of our TVs and push more food into our faces.
HOPEFUL MONSTERS OF OUR DAY
In the 20th century Otto Schindewolf, Richard Goldschmidt and others proposed the “Hopeful Monster” mechanism of evolution. This theory, not widely accepted, resulted in the suggestion that the first bird hatched from a reptilian egg. In other words, evolution can happen in sudden leaps, not gradual change as we were all taught at school. The idea received renewed support in the 1970s from Stephen J. Gould, one of the main spokesmen for evolutionists in the U.S. at the time. In his 1977 article, “The Return of Hopeful Monsters, ” Gould not only admitted that the fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change, but he also asked the question (asked by creationists ever since Darwin), of what possible use are the imperfect incipient stages of useful structures?
Even more contemptable, in my book, are the hopeful monsters of today’s prophecy “experts”. I heard one recently tell us:
“We know that the first trumpet (of Revelation) sounded at the time of World War I”.
How he “knew” this I can’t figure out, and it can’t be any more than guesswork, unless “the Lord told him”.
Another very prominent expert said recently:
“We know that God never brings judgment without removing his people first”.
This is of course a reference to the Rapture, which most evangelical ministers believe will facilitate our trip to heaven before anything bad happens to us.
You only have to look at the references in Revelation to those who are beheaded for their testimony for Jesus to realize that at least they won’t get raptured before facing the trials of the Tribulation (Revelation 20:4).
You can read my posts on the Rapture in which I discuss my view of the claim that we will escape all the troubles of the Tribulation. But it annoys me that such ministers are living the high life by speculating and guessing, and by failing to prepare the Church for what is already happening in some parts of the world. The most common word used by these people is “if”.
I’ve outlined previously the fact that the Wrath of God, according to Scripture, is not prophesied to fall until some point in the last three and a half years of that seven year period, so the idea that God will not pour out wrath on his people does not mean that we will all be gone before the seven year period of prophesied events begins. What we see now happening in many parts of the world, where many thousands of Christians are being persecuted and martyred in horrible ways while these prophecy experts make their money, is the wrath of man-the wrath of Satan.
FULFILLING BIBLE PROPHECY
The above discussion, particularly bearing the word “monsters” in mind, leads me on naturally to the fact that there are people in the world at this time who are, without meaning to, fulfilling Bible prophecy. From the extremist Muslims beheading and crucifying Christians and promising to wipe the Jews off the earth, to the world leaders who are anxious to divide Jerusalem, to those saying “where is the promise of his coming?”, to the multitudes around the world who are believing the media hype that the nation of Israel is committing senseless atrocities and has no right to defend itself, the Word of God appears set to be fulfilled in our time. See my posts on Jerusalem and Israel.
THE GOSPEL TRUTH
I should-since it’s a while since I did-let the reader who is not aware, know that Jesus Christ died for our sins. That is, if we accept his sacrifice on the cross and apply it to ourselves, and if we believe (accept) that God has raised him from the dead, and if we associate with him and change our ways, we are forgiven by God the Father, and we are promised eternal life, and given salvation from the consequences of everything we have done, said, and thought which offended the holy Creator of the universe. You don’t need a priest, you don’t need to give some minister all your money, you don’t need a religion, and you don’t need to “feel” anything: you are just one prayer away from God.